Did you know 66% of the world’s population shows signs of nomophobia, fear of being without their mobile phone? We are a generation of mobile addicts. Our mobile phones are often the first thing we grab when we wake up, and the last thing we see before we fall asleep.
With almost +5B users in the world, mobile phones have become one of the most powerful marketing and communication tools. They provide immediate access to consumers irrespective of time and area. However, sending individual text messages to countless numbers of consumers is time-consuming and can be a tiresome procedure for businesses wanting to tap into the power of this direct channel medium.
That’s where bulk SMS services come in handy.
What is bulk SMS
Using a high volume SMS gateway service allows you to send a single text message broadcast to a whole list, a whole segment, even an entire country of mobile phone numbers, as we’ve seen in the past few months.
Sending SMS can aid in increasing customer engagement and revenue for your company. Mass text messages will cut costs as it is a relatively inexpensive method of marketing. A service like this can be used in numerous instances, such as polling to get feedback from your customers, two-factor authentication for internet banking, ecommerce or staff rostering.
How to use bulk SMS to your advantage
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Learn from your target market
Similar to any other marketing channel, your chosen target audience should be studied in order to understand their needs and wants, and what will help attract them to your product or service. Furthermore, it will help you determine whether you’ve chosen the right target market for your bulk SMS service and what content will appear most valuable to the recipients.
Your target market can be classified into different customer groups based on age, gender, location, past purchases, interests, etc. Let’s say, for example, you are a retail store offering a promotion of free lipstick with a purchase of over $AUD30. You would send the majority of bulk messages to women, as the response rate from men would likely be low.
In addition, you can take what you’ve learned from their responses to SMS to iterate broadcasts in the future. Here are some things to consider when looking at your data:
- Do they prefer short or long messages?
- Messages with more dynamic content such as MLPs or MMS?
- What’s their open rate?
- What’s their click-through rate?
For example, what if you pull out from your data that busy mums are the worst offenders when it comes to appointment no-shows at your clinic. Mums are busy judging the admin of kids, school, family obligations and their own careers.
Would SMS reminders help them? Use A/B testing to figure out what kind of reminders work best, and when to send them to get the best attendance rate.
Talk directly to customers
As a direct channel to customers, the content of your mass text messages should clearly identify your goals and what you want to achieve out of this campaign. It should, however, also be precise and significant to the customer group.
Mass text can become too much like spam if the content is too generic and broad. Text messages should be focused on the recipient and act to deliver them the information they need to make a decision, enable a purchase or use a service.
To make the most of this channel, create content that is personalised and appealing to the customer group. Market segmentation is key here in order to match individual customers with offers perfectly suited to them. Accurately targeted information and conversations with the right customer group will increase sales and ROI.
There are innumerable ways you can use SMS, including:
- New updates and information
- Reminders and confirmations of appointments and bookings
- Security checks for registered accounts or sensitive information
- 2-way conversations
The best use of SMS solutions are to alert people when you need to share time-sensitive information. Unlike the slow pick-up of email, SMS is read almost immediately with 90% of them read in 90 seconds.
Because of the effectiveness of SMS campaigns in cutting through, governments often use this channel to notify citizens about fires, outages and blackouts through Emergency Alerts. You can use this to your advantage when customers book holidays through your brand and want to know that the booking has gone through. What if you need to update every student at your school about a new measles outbreak? Or what if there’s an outage on your systems, and customers across the globe are wondering what’s happening?
You can get ahead with each and every situation by using SMS strategically when time-critical information is needed to be broadcast and received.
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Guide customer journeys
Taking customers on a guided journey through your brand isn’t easy. There are so many ways that customers can seek you out and interact with your brand. It can be difficult to track or nudge them in the right direction. That is until you try using SMS as a direct communication channel.
By cutting out intermediate platforms (and their many peripheral distractions), SMS’ minimality and brevity serve as advantages when persuading customers or stakeholders to act. For example, take the simple act of guiding a customer back to an abandoned cart. A busy inbox, lots of spam emails, a not-so-effective subject line, and an email that doesn’t get to the point.
All of these elements can act as barriers in comparison to a simple, concise SMS that includes one clickable link for repurchase. When actions and behaviours can become more complex, consumers continue to strive and look for brands who can provide simplicity. SMS can be your guide to get there.
Set and forget
We talked earlier about how sending bulk SMS messages can be useful for reminding customers about upcoming appointments and confirming bookings or purchases. They help your business meet new customer needs and their increased workloads that come with modern life. Similarly, it can also help your business with the same internal challenges.
If you’re already using a bulk SMS gateway or service, it’s likely that you are using it for external communications without thinking about the advantages of turning it inwards. SMS automation allows you to set and forget workflows that can alleviate internal inefficiencies, such as support call follow-ups, new sales or lead gen opportunities, meeting reminders and so much more. They relay time-critical information and that applies even more to the way we work, not just how we serve our customers.
Think about the ways in which you can change the way you are working. Perhaps it’s finding a new way to remind staff members about their upcoming roster and applying that to your inner workings. You’d be surprised how text messaging can help out.
Make it interactive
The days of one-way communications are over. The beauty of SMS marketing is that it can start and develop two-way conversations between you and your consumer. This makes SMS broadcasts not only interactive but also engaging to your customers.
Increase response rates with customers by including offers or discounts that have a call to action. Sending SMS in bulk can save your business valuable time by automating your marketing campaign.
It is also useful for creating polls to seek feedback from your customers. It can be strategic for your decision-making by asking for thoughts and opinions from those most important to your business – whether that’s your customers or staff members.
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Final thoughts, further reading
Business or not, there are limitless ways you can use bulk SMS services to gain advantages over your competitors. They can be cost-effective when measured against reach, initial investment and long-term ROI. Is it time you started investing in SMS?